IN HONOR OF BISHOP DR. AUDREY F. BRONSON; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 15
(Extensions of Remarks - February 02, 2010)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E131-E132]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. JOE SESTAK

                            of pennsylvania

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, February 2, 2010

  Mr. SESTAK. Madam Speaker, the great Marian Anderson once said, 
``Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of 
those who would be affected by it.'' In recognition of her investiture 
as the first woman President of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and 
Vicinity, I would like to honor an extraordinary individual who 
personifies the ``understanding leader'' Ms. Anderson described, Bishop 
Dr. Audrey F. Bronson.
  At the age of 14, this remarkable woman was called to begin her 
vocation as a preacher. In 1975, she was inspired to establish the 
Sanctuary Church of the Open Door serving the community of West 
Philadelphia. In September 1978, the successful Sanctuary Christian 
Academy was founded to produce students skilled in reading, writing, 
mathematics, language arts and computer science. Other ministries at 
the church include Sanctuary Bible Institute; Sanctuary Family Resource 
Center and Referral Service; Sanctuary Christian Day Camp; Dunlap 
Apartment Complex; and Sanctuary Outreach Ministries.
  Bishop Bronson's spirituality, extraordinary intellect and selfless 
nature reflect the nurturing of her loving and learned parents and 
brother. Her father, Dr. Uriah Perry Bronson, was a minister and pastor 
of churches and principal of several schools in Florida. Her mother and 
step-mother were both teachers and church workers. Her brother, Dr. 
Oswald P. Bronson, a United Methodist minister, was pastor of several 
churches and President of the Interdenominational Theological Center in 
Atlanta, Georgia. He recently retired as President, Bethune-Cookman 
College, Daytona Beach, Florida and currently serves as President, 
Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Florida.
  Dr. Bronson received her bachelor of science degree in elementary 
education from

[[Page E132]]

Cheyney University; she also holds a master's degree in psychology from 
Howard University where she also became a candidate for a Ph.D. in 
psychology. She earned a doctor of ministry degree from New York 
Theological Seminary. She holds two honorary degrees from Bethune-
Cookman College and a doctor of humane letters from the National 
Theological Seminary and College. Upon completion of her studies, Dr. 
Bronson returned to Cheyney in 1967 where she taught for 17 years as an 
associate professor of psychology. Since retiring from that position to 
devote her full energies to her growing church, she continues to be a 
valued member of the Cheyney family.
  Her many other appointments include: Dean of the Philadelphia Urban 
Education Institute, a subsidiary of the African American 
Interdenominational Ministries, Inc. (AAIM, Inc.) of Philadelphia in 
association with the major seminaries of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
Member of the Board of One Church, One Child, Inc., of Pennsylvania, a 
statewide organization that encourages members of African-American 
Churches to adopt African-American children. She was a member of the 
Mayor of Philadelphia's Transition Team and currently serves on the 
board of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the 
Executive Committee of the Association of Theological Schools.
  Dr. Bronson's faith has led her to minister in prisons; serve as a 
block captain; work to rid the community of drugs and violence; feed 
the hungry; and keep her church doors open seven days a week. She is a 
tireless agent of change ideally qualified to lead the Black Clergy of 
Philadelphia and Vicinity to new heights as it strives to ``help the 
downtrodden'' and those ``pushed aside.'' In many ways, Dr. Bronson has 
been fulfilling this calling all her life. Early in the HIV/AIDS 
crisis, when some churches were turning away those afflicted with the 
disease, Dr. Bronson called on her fellow clergy members to accept 
those stricken by this terrible disease and to offer education and 
testing in their communities, a mission she plans on continuing in her 
new post.
  Madam Speaker, I ask that this House acknowledge Bishop Dr. Audrey F. 
Bronson, as a testament to Marian Wright Edelman's observation that: 
``education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your 
community and world better than you found it.'' Bishop Bronson's life 
of preaching, learning and teaching has made her a pillar of strength, 
wisdom, and civic spirit. She has empowered countless African-American 
families to live fuller, more purposeful lives through their faith in 
God and one another. With her new responsibilities at the helm of one 
of the premier spiritual collectives in the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, her ability to guide, counsel and inspire across an 
entire metropolitan region is very welcome news.
  Particularly during these very difficult times, she is the perfect 
``watchman on the wall.''